Sunday, June 22, 2014
Shawn knows he’s going to die on his 18th birthday.
It’s not like it’s a secret. Shawn is a saviant, born to provide a vital organ transplant to his twin brother, Adam.
When you make up a word like "saviant" it helps to use italics so the reader knows you didn't just misspell savant.
Most saviants are wards of the Church of St. Gwyneth, but not Shawn. His parents kept him and raised him alongside Adam.
Shawn loves his brother. He doesn’t mind dying. He just wants Adam to be happy.
Then Adam’s girlfriend Ashley shows up at the door.
Ashley has never heard about Shawn. She’s never even met a saviant before. She assumes the boy in front of her is Adam. And she’s never been shy with her kisses.
It’s Shawn’s first kiss. Ever. He doesn’t know how to stop it. And Adam sees what happens.
The fight is bad. So bad, Shawn tells Adam the one thing he knows will hurt the most. That his death is Adam’s fault.
When it comes down to it, Shawn’s not so sure he really is ready to die. Not anymore.
He could run away. Live a life of his own.
All he has to do is leave Adam to die instead.
INTO THE SHINING SUN (74,000 words) is young adult speculative fiction. It’s my first novel.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Yup, this works. This entices me to read pages. It's taut, it's got stakes, it's got me caring about ALL the characters. This is ready to go.
The first half of the story makes it look like Shawn’s going to run away and live - a more typical dystopian tale - but Shawn chooses to die, and his death marks the novel’s halfway point. The second half follows Adam’s struggle to deal with his brother’s death.
I think the query is more enticing like this, but am I lying by omission? Should I give away Shawn’s end and give a clearer picture of the whole novel instead?
Also, my novel used to be 120,000 words. Thank you for admonishing us to pare it down. I needed it.
Tricky question, and there's no right answer here. I think you leave the query as is. I moved the question to the bottom of the post so as not to spoil the "surprise" second half for the blog readers. I think having this turn of events will be a good plot twist.
Of course, if you get requests for fulls, and a LOT of passes that say "the second half was a let down"
you'll know you need to work on keeping the stakes for Adam high, and building tension.
Posted by Janet Reid at 7:00 AM